Poem| Nitoo Das


For a decade, all he did was plan
an escape.

“I’m going home. My mother
waits for me.
It’s late; she’ll worry.”

That was my father
over and over again. His story rife
with spies and alibis. A little boy
looking for ways

to flee from strangers
his wife
whom he called his bride
but could never recognise

her body, bent
and tired while he
he was a boy,
raw, brown, playing late
into the evening
as his mother waited.

And, then, on a June night
he lay down rooting
for daylight
and ritual. The snarl
of sedation and defeat
forgotten as usual.
Young, lithe again

he ran to a mother
who waited for him
with laughter. A full-
blown cover of sanity,
incense and water. His clothes
not soiled, his nostrils
blocked to lies, his skin

no longer just a stretch
of creased matter over bone smelling
of darkness and dettol.

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